It was indeed so for Rabia Kapoor. The young poet and spoken word artist from Mumbai keeps throwing furtive glances, first at the audience and then at the lectern, and then back. When her chance comes, she walks up and performs just one long piece, delivered in true spoken word style, without notes. Her voice is soft and the cadence is calm, full of appropriate pauses and light sighs. It is a poem about first love, the one that blurs the lines between obsession and infatuation. These are words describing new feelings of feeling special, of missing someone special, of finding signs of love in mundane things, of projecting ideas of the beloved on a designated person, and then despairing when it all falls short.
The audience smiles, nods and chuckles along with the performance. When it’s over, Rabia lets out an involuntary sigh of relief and sits back in her chair. Later, when speaking to me, she admits to still being a bit shaky. It had been an audience full of renowned poets and performers. After having confidently expressed complex feelings on the stage, she had reverted to looking vulnerable. But being vulnerable and open is exactly what she likes about performing poetry. So, it’s all good!
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Written by Shruti Sharada.